Hennepin Healthcare terminated five employees in July for inappropriately viewing the medical records of “a high profile patient” after George Floyd was taken to the Minneapolis-based hospital in May after dying in police custody, according to a Sept. 23 Star Tribune report.
1. The five former employees received letters notifying them of their termination for viewing a patient’s medical file without proper authorization, which violated Hennepin Healthcare’s confidentiality policy.
2. Star Tribune obtained the letters, which did not specifically identify the patient as Mr. Floyd but some referred to a “high profile patient” and a case in the news. Shortly after the letters were delivered, Hennepin Healthcare sent a letter to Mr. Floyd’s family notifying them of a privacy breach.
3. One of the former employees, who worked as an office specialist in the Emergency Medical Service department, said they accessed Mr. Floyd’s records out of concern for “the safety of the paramedics that had worked on this patient,” according to one of the disciplinary letters.
4. Another of the former employees confirmed searching for the patient’s name but denied reading any records. All employees involved were given the opportunity to appeal the discipline.
5. Hennepin Healthcare declined to answer the publication’s questions about the breach due to its policy on patient confidentiality. The hospital did say they regularly complete privacy audits and that patients must be notified of any breaches.
6. Mr. Floyd’s family’s legal team is “exploring all remedies” to “make this right and make the family whole for this incredible intrusion of privacy,” according to their statement.
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